Journalist Syndicate leadership race heats up

Two of the nation's biggest names in journalism have announced their candidacy for syndicate chief in elections planned for next month.

On Wednesday, Abdel Mohsen Salama, managing editor of state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, and Diaa Rashwan, president of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, put their names in the hat to take over the national Journalists Syndicate.

The vote is set to take place on 1 March.

Rashwan is likely going to a top runners thanks to a large base of support.

Syndicate head Mamdouh al-Wali, Al-Ahram's chairman with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, had earlier said he will not run in the election and it is currently unclear who Islamist-leaning members are likely to support.

In a statement released Wednesday, Wali said he will not finish his two-year stint as planned, which ends 25 October. Instead, he has agreed to step down immediately following the election due to disagreements over religious and political bias within syndicate ranks.

One of the most contentious issues was Wali's refusal to leave the panel in charge of drafting the Constitution, despite the syndicate's promise to remove its representative.

Writers Khaled al-Balshy and Emad Hegab have also joined the fray seeking spots on the board.

The final list of candidates will be announced on Thursday. So far, five candidates are running for chief, while 51 nominees are running for board positions.

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